I took Bikram yoga today for the first time in 10 years. I recalled that I wrote a blog about it the first time I went. Even 10 years older and perhaps 20 lbs heavier the experience was pretty much the same. So here it is, my trauma for your enjoyment.
You'll Never Know Unless You Try, 12/6/06, 04:56 PM
I don't know what got into me this past weekend, but I woke up Saturday morning with this overwhelming urge to take Bikram Yoga, which was odd because I've never taken a Bikram Yoga class before. For that matter I've never taken a yoga class of any kind...ever. So where did this sudden and uncontrollable urge come from? I don't really know.
I've often walked by the studios where they give it and have seen people doing it so I had had a curiosity about it before. Plus on Thanksgiving it came up in conversation and two people, neither of whom I would have associated with physical activity, swore by it. I usually don't succumb to casual recommendations like that. I've also known people who have sworn by Amway, Shaklee and Scientology but I've never been tempted to give any of it a try for myself. But somehow the yoga seed had been planted and the urge had to be satisfied.
Before I get ahead of myself, in case you don't know, Bikram Yoga is a sequence of 26 yoga postures and two breathing exercises developed by Bikram Choudhury that is done in a room heated to 105°F (40.5°C) and accompanied by specific dialogue.
So anyway, I wake up with this inexplicable urge to go to yoga class. I poke around on the internet and find a studio that has a class specifically designed for first-timers down by the Flatiron Building. In a matter of minutes I make a phone call, reserve a spot, pack my bag and am out the door.
I get to the studio, which is up three flights of stairs, walk in and it's like a sauna. Duh. There are three or four people sitting in the lobby all hot and sweaty from having just finished the previous class The men are in shorts and shirtless and the women are in spandex shorts and crop top tanks. You think that might be kind of sexy, right? No such luck. These people looked like reheated death. And might I add, for supposedly health conscious people they were the sorriest looking rag-tag bunch you could imagine.
So I pay the guy at the counter, get a mat, towels and a bottle of water. I go into the very crowded locker room, change into my shorts and sheepishly take my shirt off. For the record, I don't have any real hang-ups with my body. I'm not going to win any Mr. Universe contests, but I have no reason to be embarrassed either. Probably because I was in foreign surroundings, I felt so conspicuous I might as well have been standing their stark naked with fleur-de-lis shaved into my pubic hair.
Locking my modesty away with my personal belongings I took my mat, towels and water and head into, what they refer to as, the "hot box. " Let me put it this way. Have you ever smelled stinky feet? Toe jam? Dirty armpit? Crotch rot? Imagine that all baked into a moldy carpet at 105°F and that's pretty much what the hot box smelled like. Oh yeah, it smelled like "box" too.
After a moment of wrestling with my gag reflex I situated my mat and watched the other first timers come in and do the same (gag and place their mat, that is). Finally the teacher, Brigit-Ann entered. She was very pleasant and gave a brief summary of what we were about to do. Once everyone introduced themselves and apprised her of their previous physical injuries we were off and running.
We started with a deep breathing exercise. This was particularly difficult since the odor made you want to breathe as little as possible. The first two or three deep whiffs almost knocked me out, and after 5 or 6 more my brain was forced to decide whether to ignore the smell or induce vomiting. Thankfully it chose to ignore the smell and we moved on to the standing poses.
The first poses were more like stretches, to one side then the other, then back. Then we did this squat sort of thing and the teacher who has been yammering away since we started (hence the "accompanied by specific dialogue" part of the class) says that this is the "awkward pose. "
Then as if we're playing a solo game of Twister without the mat we move on to the "eagle. "
Personally I thought THAT should have been called the awkward pose.
It was round about the pose called the "triangle" that I blacked-out for the first time.
I know it doesn't look hard, but try doing it after you've just had your ankles wrapped around your torso.
I didn't actually faint or anything, I just all of a sudden realized that my eyes were open and I couldn't see anything. Then we moved on to the floor positions and I thought thank God, at least if I do pass out I'll already be on the floor.
My least favorite was the "rabbit" which, you'd think should have been my favorite since it resembled something like inverted auto-fellatio.
Brigit-Ann kept saying, "Breath normally, breath normally. " Which begs the question, "What is normal breathing when you have your head stuck up your a **?"
Finally the class ended and there I was on the brink of dehydration lying on my mat in a three inch deep puddle of my own sweat. My fingertips were shriveled as if I had been soaking in a hot tub for the better part of a day. And according to BA (as she preferred to be called) I had just worked every muscle in my body, I was detoxified and my chakras were cleansed or what-have-you.
I finally got the gumption to pick myself up off the floor and get myself back to the locker room where I showered and changed. The ordeal was over.
Never in my life have I suffered through such intense physical toil. However, once I got myself back to neutral, so to speak, I felt almost euphoric. Trust me, euphoric isn't a word I use all that often. As a matter of fact, I don't think I've every used it. The funniest part of all, is that even if the joke's on me, I think I'm going back.
So today is St. Patrick’s Day. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, St. Patrick’s Day in New York City is like gay pride only with drunker women and uglier men. New York City passed a law a few weeks ago making it legal to drink and urinate in public yet the morons never bothered to think that if they passed the ordinance after today they could have taken in enough fines to balance the budget.
According to Wikipedia St. Patrick’s Day started as a cultural and religious celebration honoring the patron saint of Ireland. It also says “there has been criticism of Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations for having become too commercialized and for fostering negative stereotypes of the Irish.” Ya think? St. Patrick’s Day sailed right past “Hallmark Holiday” and went straight to what I now officially refer to as a “Hangover Holiday.”
Alcohol is the only reason everybody’s “a little bit Irish” on St. Patty’s Day. For every Mary Murphy at the parade there’s a Rachel Goldman sidled right up alongside her with green deely boppers on her head and beer bongs in her immediate future. Ironically, you never see Mary Murphy puking in the gutter during Sukkot – well, maybe you do but she isn’t celebrating Sukkot, she’s celebrating Tuesday.
Alcohol is specifically designed to make holidays run more smoothly, who doesn’t take a flask to Thanksgiving? That’s why we serve egg nog at Christmas. Where would middle America be without a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon when shooting off fireworks? Probably not the emergency room…but I digress.
The issue with “Hangover Holidays” is that drinking is the sole reason they’re celebrated. There may be that one guy out there who actually knows that Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over the French in 1862, but Pablo aside, everybody else thinks it’s all about two-for-one Coronas with tequila chasers and flushing car keys down the toilet at Chi-Chi’s.
Don’t even get me started on Santacon. That’s not even a holiday, that’s just a bunch of bored frat guys from the suburbs putting on costumes and hopping the LIRR into Manhattan to get drunk. Alcohol usually turns people into a$$holes but not on Santacon. Those dudes are a$$holes completely sober. Seriously, if somebody dresses as Santa for the sole purpose of getting drunk there’s a good chance they’re socially undesirable – like serial killers or drag queens.
In my opinion, there are a couple holidays that could actually use more alcohol, Election Day for example. I can guarantee I’ll be drinking on Election Day this year – whether I’m celebrating or drowning my sorrows remains to be seen. Or Black Friday, the day we worship capitalism in the name of Jesus Christ, just imagine those YouTube videos once pre-shopping screwdrivers becomes a tradition.
Let’s face it, holiday binge drinking is for amateurs, the kind of people who get drunk on Jagermeister or peppermint schnapps. I prefer to associate with a higher class of boozer; the kind who doesn't need a holiday to drink, just an open bar tab.
Let's keep the party going, come join me on Twitter @RobertDriemeyer
Wow, lots of news this week. First and foremost, the world was introduced to Caitlyn Jenner and Chris Christie’s camel toe. Both photos went flying through the Twitter-verse with hashtag #CallMeCaitlyn.
For better and worse I assume these images will become iconic. Caitlyn’s cover will rank with the most memorable…
…and Christie’s photo will be one of those hard to forget.
I don’t think there’s anything I can say about either of their ambiguous genitalia that hasn’t already been said, so moving on…
I went to the DMV to get my driver’s license renewed this week. Is there really any mystery as to why everyone looks so pissed off in their license pictures? You walk in and there are 3,000 people in line ahead of you and both of the employees are on break. You wait in line for hours suffering the indignity of people, all of whom vaguely smell of baby sh!t, bumping into you while shouting into their cellphones. Then, just as you reach your wit’s end they put you in front of a camera, “Say cheese!”
Truth be told, the girl who finally waited on me was quite friendly. She had to give me the eye test which I passed with flying colors. The problem was that even though I could read the eye chart from halfway across the room I could barely make out the questionnaire on the little card she gave me. I was thinking, damn, maybe if she held it back there by the eye chart I’d stand a chance of reading it. People have used larger font to print the Bible on a thimble.
Anyway, I did my best answering the questions and checking the boxes. I signed and dated it, handed it back to the clerk and now, like it or not, it seems I’m an organ donor.
As the clerk was entering my information into the computer she says to me, “You know you checked ‘yes’ to organ donor, right?” I’m too proud to admit I checked the wrong box and too vain to wear drug store glasses so I said, “Uh…sure. Why not? Just take them after I’m dead and don’t come try and take a kidney for a parking ticket.” I left there feeling kind of proud of myself though. If my liver will give somebody else a few more years to drink then God’s work is done.” I just hope they rinse it out really good first.
If you heard a loud scream this morning at about 10:30am it was probably me. I finally got around to watching Megyn Kelly’s interview with Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar responding to the now public information that their son Josh Duggar inappropriately touched young girls, some of whom were his sisters.
In all fairness I will say this first. Since Josh and the girls in question were all minors at the time of the incidents I agree that it’s questionable whether or not this should be public information. That said; the thing that has always griped my a$$ about the Duggars is their hypocrisy.
In their interview and the subsequent interview of their daughers they fervently steer the topic away from Josh Duggar's wrongdoings and towards the invasion of their privacy. Isn’t that rich coming from people who invite cameras into their home for the sole purpose of exploiting their family on reality television?
I’d never think to call Megyn Kelly a hard-hitting journalist, or any kind of journalist at all for that matter, but she did ask Michelle Duggar about the robocall she recorded urging residents of Fayetteville, AR to call their city council members and ask them to vote ‘no’ on an anti-discrimination ordinance. The Washington Post did a piece about this in August of last year. If you want to bring yourself up to speed on the back story you can read it here.
Duggar’s recorded message insinuates that transgendered people would violate children in locker rooms and Ms. Kelly pressed Mrs. Duggar on how she could stand by such a message knowing full well that her own son had, in fact, violated children. She evaded the question with a non-answer while her husband cited a legal definition of pedophile that conveniently excluded their son from qualification.
It’s interesting that this exchange happened at the same moment Caitlyn Jenner is the most famous woman in pop culture and gender identity is on everyone’s radar. I say woman and not transgendered woman because the only real difference is that one once had a penis. The Duggars’ refusal to understand and accept this is a testament to their willful ignorance not their religious beliefs. I admit here and now that I don’t fully understand transgenderism but I’m working to, as are I believe, most open-minded people. Lucky for me I actually know two transgendered people, albeit not all that well. One’s own lack of understanding is all the more reason not to pass judgement which is something else the Duggars don’t seem to understand.
Another thing I don’t understand is the appeal of their show. So they run their household like the Salvation Army, who cares? I don’t. Now that their sh!t got real though, they have potential for a reality show I might actually watch. Too bad for them it’ll play out on the news and not TLC.
It seems the only thing that inspires me to write these days is a Republican taken down by scandal. My last entry featured that young stud Aaron Schock, a Republican representative from my home state of Illinois who resigned after allegations of misusing taxpayer funds led to a federal investigation. The real scandal of course, was his flaming red office…and this flaming outfit but that’s another story.
The latest Republican congressman, or to be fair, ex-Congressman, to go down flaming is also from my home state. Go team! Dennis Hastert, remember him?
Let’s review. He became Speaker of the House in 1998, smack dab in the middle of Republican efforts to impeach Bill Clinton for lying about fooling around with Monica Lewinsky. She, by the way, gave one hell of Ted talk. If you haven’t already seen it, you can check it out here .
Hastert became Speaker of the House after Newt Gingrich resigned due to his own extramarital affair. It set the wrong tone while trying to impeach the President for more or less the same thing. The Speakership was supposed to go to Robert Livingston of Louisiana but he declined the position due to his affair, so this sent the GOP scrambling to find someone who wasn’t screwing around to take charge. Enter Dennis Hastert.
The first tidbit of news to drop this week was that Hastert was being indicted for lying to the FBI about his reasons for making large cash withdrawals totaling $1.7M. His large withdrawals caught the attention of bank officials which eventually led to an investigation that found Hastert had agreed to pay someone $3.5M to keep quiet about a past “misconduct.” I figured the misconduct had to be pretty juicy because nobody spends $3.5M to keep a $20 blow job out of the press.
Given that Hastert was a high school teacher and wrestling coach from 1965 to 1981 my money was on an affair with an underage male. Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding! I win! Word is out and the stories are flying around the internet but this report from the New York Times is pretty thorough if you want complete 411.
I guessed it was a young man because wrestling is the gayest sport on earth. People think the gayest sport is figure skating or ladies golf but they’re wrong. Wrestling beats them by a mile.
Official wresting terms include: Pump Handle, Rocking Chair, Bear Hug, Stump Puller, Barely Legal, and Neck Scissors. Best I can tell the only difference between wrestling and porn is actual penetration. There’s a very fine line that separates pop culture from porn these days. Courteney Cox and Tom Cruise would have been perfectly good porn names had they not already been taken by famous people. Think about it.
Now, before you go asking why the hell would someone drop trou for Hastert, you should know he used to be kind of a strapping buck. You might have even wanted to climb into the backseat of the driver’s ed. car with him yourself.
Oy vey. What a wife and kids’ll do to a guy, right? It’ll be interesting to see this play out, especially against the backdrop of a bizarre presidential primary. My last word on the subject, for now, is this: sexual misconduct is wrong and so is extortion. Two wrongs don’t make a right but they do make for good blogging.
I didn’t write about the other gay Republican scandal a few weeks back but this is as good of time as any to put in my two cents. Bone smokers Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass, owners of the Out Hotel in Manhattan and most of the commercial real estate in Fire Island Pines, hosted a dinner in their apartment for Republican Senator and Presidential candidate Ted Cruz. Think the Franks having Hitler up to the attic for tea.
The gays were furious when they learned these guys, who owned businesses they frequented, hosted a rabid homophobe like Cruz. Oddly enough, right wingers didn’t seem all that upset with Cruz visiting this gay love shack where a twink had recently OD’d in the bathroom. True Story.
The backlash against Reisner and Weiderpass was swift and harsh. Well, a Facebook page called “Boycott the Fire Island Pines” was set up and in short order had about 11,000 “likes”. I’m not convinced these “boycotters” will let this upset their vacation plans but that remains to be seen. A Facebook page isn’t exactly hitting Anita Bryant in the face with a pie but it’s something. Some people probably don't even know who Anita Bryant is these days; and if they don’t, well, I guess therein lies the point.
My savvy readers already know this photo is from the infamous 1977 press conference where a gay activist smacked Ms. Bryant right in the kisser with a pie. If this is new information to you then you need to check out this clip. It’s kind of uncomfortable to watch but she does manage a pretty good comeback, “Well, at least it’s a ‘fruit’ pie.” But honestly nobody can recover from a pie in the face…and she didn’t.
Whether Reisner and Weiderpass accept it nor not, they have fruit pie all over their faces too and I doubt they'll fully recover either.
Wrapping things up…this year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee ended in a tie. Two eighth graders, Gokul Venkatachalam (14) and Vanya Shivashankar (13) share the honors.
The tie probably could have been broken had they each been asked to spell the other's name.
This bee was tough. They had to spell words like thamakau, filicite, and scacchite; basically, words that look like how you might phonetize a sneeze. Phonetize: p-h-o-n-e-t-i-z-e, phonetize. How’s that for a $10 word?
They had to spell “nunatak” and “scherenschnitte” respectively for their collective win. I can’t spell those words and for the record neither can my spell check. I have no idea what they mean but maybe a scherenschnitte would be a useful should a nunatak. Ba doom ching!
For the final piece of low-hanging fruit, Fox News once misspelled “Spelling Bee.” To be fair it was probably just a typo but it still would have gotten them that dreaded buzzer.
So the wunderkind representative from my home state of Illinois, Aaron Schock resigned. He’s the one to go down in history for decorating his office like a Klondike whorehouse.
He said it was inspired by Downton Abbey but seriously, who’s more likely to inhabit this space?
Though, I suspect a Klondike whore looked less like Shirley Jones in Elmer Gantry and more like…
He’s faced a lot of gay rumors during his time in the limelight but I say, let’s have that discussion once he gets out of prison.
Anyway, not to brag but I just returned from a glorious 10-day vacation to the Canary Islands and London. The Canary Islands are Spanish islands off the coast of Morocco. It’s a wonderful place that sounds more exotic than it really is. Essentially, it’s like Ft. Lauderdale for Brits and Germans. It’s also the place where Christopher Columbus made his pit stops before trekking to America. If you ever find yourself in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, make sure to visit the Casa de Colón. It was a governor’s house where Columbus stayed and is now a museum dedicated to his excursions.
We celebrate the fact that Columbus discovered America, which of course, he did. During his lifetime though, he believed his discovery was a shortcut to India, not the discovery of what actually stood in between. Hollow victories, I suppose.
There were two other highlights of Gran Canaria. First was Maná 264, a tapas bar where they serve the world’s best gin and tonic. I say this with confidence as I’ve consumed enough in my lifetime for a scientific sampling. What makes a gin and tonic so special you ask? Well, they “dry” the ice so it doesn’t melt and water down your drink, and then they serve the top shelf brands garnished with their signature infusions. For example, I prefer Hendrick’s whose signature ingredients are cucumber and rose petal. So you get something like this.
You almost never get rose petals in Hendrick’s anywhere. Some upscale places in New York will serve cucumber instead of lime but that’s only in the swankiest places. My local watering hole can barely get the gin and tonic part right. I mean, come on, it’s “gin” and “tonic,” two ingredients. How hard could that possibly be? Ask the bartenders and they’ll tell you…if their vocabularies allow…but I digress.
The second highlight of Gran Canaria is the drag shows. It’s a blood sport there. Let me say that those bishes on Ru Paul are rank amateurs compared to these ferocious queens.
The primary daytime activity on Gran Canaria is the beach or the pool, depending on how nice of one your hotel has, but the primary nighttime diversion is one of the many drag shows. Grandmas, grandpas, parents with toddlers, young and old alike, all pour into the cabarets of the Yumbo Center at night to witness the spectacular debauchery.
Without a doubt, my favorite act was Miss DQ, the world’s only dwarf drag queen. Yes, you heard me. A quick Google search after the fact told me that Miss DQ is somewhat of an International phenomenon having been featured on a UK reality show, Seven Dwarves.
Miss DQ’s act defies description so I won’t even try. Besides, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Need I say more?
A competing show had a Nana Mouskouri impersonator. Tell me, how often are you treated to that?
The London portion of the trip was equally exciting because WE SAW THE QUEEN! That’s right. Yours truly went to London and saw the friggin’ Queen of England!
I’d only ever flown through Heathrow and had never actually been to London before. We flew Ryanair from Las Palmas to Stanstead airport in London. You think American airlines are bad? Try Ryanair. They’re too cheap to even print out the safety cards. They stick them right on the seat back in front of you.
Try staring at that on a four hour flight. It’s like perusing a menu of everything that could possibly go wrong; and flying into Stanstead has all the glamour of landing at Port Authority.
We arrived in the late afternoon and the weather was crappy. We checked into the hotel and the room would have cramped Miss DQ. So we paid for an upgrade for a better room which would have been fine but considering the total price of the accommodations we might just as easily have booked a nicer hotel to begin with.
It was getting late and we were having a hard time finding a place to have dinner so we walked what felt like miles in the cold, damp air. Everyone on the street smokes like a chimney and blows smoke in your face as you walk by…basically, I was hating London. I thought, “Hell, is this all there is, bad weather and black lung?”
The next morning we went to Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guard. I should have been impressed, but I thought, it’s just a bunch of guys clomping back and forth across the gravel dressed in my old high school band uniform. What’s so special about that?
I’m glad I hung in there because as it was about to end, we decided to walk away and get a head start in front of the crowds. You know, like the old women who, when they go to the theatre, get up two minutes before the end of the first act to call dibs on the stalls in the ladies room.
We were a good distance away from the crowd and about to cross the street when a motorcade sped past…and there she was…in all her hat and glove glory, waving from the back of her limo. I’m never star struck so how can I put this? I was like 13-year old girl seeing the Beatles in 1964.
Seriously, wouldn’t you? I floated on air the rest of the two days we were there. Once the Queen sighting lifted me out of my initial funk, we had a fantastic time. We toured Westminster Abbey, took a boat ride on the Thames, saw Parliament and Big Ben, window shopped at Harrod’s, and saw two plays; The Play That Goes Wrong in the West End and Treasure Island at the National. Suffice to say, I’m ready to turn right around and go back.
Now that I’m back though, my battery is recharged, my comedy juices are flowing and I’m raring to go. So if you’re in NYC, come out and see me do a set at Metropolitan in Williamsburg on March 24!